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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Fare

We had a very pleasant Christmas lunch. The meal was delicious, weather perfect, the children enjoyed themselves and everyone appeared to have a great time together. We started with Paradise soup, made with tomatoes, cucumber, with other delicious ingredients, someone else's recipe, served chilled for the warm day. The children were first to the table while the adults hovered in other parts of the dining room. I made the cake above as part of our contribution to lunch & forgot to photograph it before delivery. Looks like it met something at the front. The boys were keen to eat the reindeers, however as they were paper cut outs on tooth picks, they lost interest.

Our dining room has had a delicious aroma since the Christmas Cake has been completed & awaiting taste testing & ultimate demolition. I made two this year, one as a gift & both iced as the icing is much appreciated by those who enjoy the cake. Nothing grand just amateur decorating, with ribbon & paper cut outs on tooth picks, works for us in this festive time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Week.

Once again, we started Christmas week by attending the annual Carol Evening in the beautiful Wellington Town Hall. It was not on my "to do" list for this year, however I'm very pleased we made the effort to be part of the audience and be inspired in the Season.
Perhaps because it has been so chilly, still with baskets of cascading pansies & lobelia decorating the courtyard, I've not thought of this as Christmas time.

Today is overcast, 13C with a Southerly still apparent & the heating turned on for now. Maybe if this continues, a traditional Christmas dinner will be in order.

The tree has been setup & the house in varying stages of decoration since advent, so I'll be happy to enjoy the sparkle until it all comes down, on January 5th.

I've managed to bake two Christmas cakes, one for a gift, so they will need to be decorated very soon.
On Friday we attended the end of year celebrations at school, where Josh had a part as one of the announcers for his class's performance. We had lots of laughs during the performance, especially when they sang & acted for the Boa Constrictor song. Josh awaiting his cue.

Well done Josh for reading your script without fault & realising new batteries were required for the microphone. Great hat!

No Christmas stitching, so to speak, apart from a couple of small ornaments to add to my collection, along with the two seen earlier & done for exchanges, which seems so long ago now.

Here's the ornament tree for this year although one can hardly decipher the ornaments.

I've made a couple of small purses, using some of my patchwork stash. They required so little fabric it has hardly depleted the collection. :)

The press studs for the tulip one are yet to be attached, put away so carefully I can't find them right now.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Very Special Birthday Gift.

Our friends who visited for DH's birthday, brought him a special quirky gift.
Because he & his friends have been involved with Ham Radio, for ever, those visiting found a valve which was manufactured the year he was born. It was a new one, that had been around for some time obviously & never used. It was still installed in a radio set, type #19, used primarily in tanks during the second world war. They were made in Australia, the UK & the USA.
Our friends had it mounted on a piece of Australian native wood, called Jarrah, a beautiful, rich, warm coloured, hardwood. My husband had one of these radios when he first gained his ham radio license, way back as a teenager. They also had a commemorative plaque made & fitted to the base, along with commissioning someone to make a card, depicting this valve in paper crafting to accompany the gift.. He was thrilled with both the thoughtfulness that went into the gift & their surprise visit.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Arrival of an Ornament from Florida,

This is one of my Ornament exchanges. I am so thrilled.
It is beautifully stitched for me, from Lisa in Florida, unfortunately the photo does not do it justice..
The edges are embellished with tiny beads which also make up the holly in the design, along with the hanger.
I love being part of the Christmas exchanges, looking forward to them as the run up to celebrating Christmas, my favourite time of the year.
Thank you Lisa I will hang it proudly with all my treasured ornament exchanges.

Birthday Visitors, & A Happy Surprise..

Some very dear friends, from Australia, organized to visit as a surprise, for DH's birthday. It was also to be a surprise for me. However, the cat was let out of the bag so to speak, when we visited Sydney at the end of June this year. I was then sworn to secrecy, something not usually hard for me to achieve, although I had not expected it to be so difficult as we approached the time of their arrival. With preparations underway it became more challenging not to make a slip up. On the morning they were departing from Sydney, I stopped myself mid thoughts, as I was about to mention they would be boarding their flight. Another couple of times, I did inadvertently make a comment. Luckily, my dear husband, is not of a suspicious nature, so I was able to gloss over any of my odd remarks.

I've read how studies have shown how many folk hold their breath, when writing emails.
Well, I feel I have been holding my breath for several months now, not only while writing emails. It was rather exhausting in hindsight.

At last the visitors appeared. I contrived for us to be out for cocktails with family, Friday evening. My very dear husband was so surprised to see our close friends, of many moons, appear at the restaurant. He is not a gentleman who is usually surprised by much. This time he was almost overcome. He was amazed & also delighted, to be sharing this right of passage with friends from as far back as school days. I felt for him, as I really hate birthday surprises. Not something I would have relished.
However it turned out to be a really wonderful three days, sharing time, sightseeing, and much laughter with our longtime, dear friends, from home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cake Is Ready..

Although the birthday is tomorrow we will be celebrating again on Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
The cake is completed and will appear after tomorrow evening, ready for dinner on Saturday.

In the meantime, as it is the month of Halloween, I've had my decorations out and am ready for the main event, next Monday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Progress for the cake.

As mentioned earlier, I cooked the cake in a wooden cake container. This is it & when purchased there is a recipe included. I did change it, adding from my MIL's own trusted wedding cake recipe, some of her ingredients. I must say the cake appears to have cooked evenly, as specified by the makers.

I decided on a coloured icing for the cake and did not realise how much effort it would take to change the icing from pure white, to such a deep bright colour. It took several hours to mix in the correct shade and as time went on, I thought I would need to go for more supplies. In the end I decided it was dark enough & looked fine.

I still needed to do the rest of the decorative pieces for the cake. Although simple, quite time consuming, with the colour for those, turning out to be rather insipid. Time is escaping, especially when of all weeks DH has decided to stay around the home. With the rest of the silver to clean, along with setting up the table, I am hoping to get it done on the next occasion he leaves the house. He thinks this will be an intimate dinner party with only four of us celebrating.
Ho Hum!

First & second ornaments have arrived.

Lisa has emailed me to say her Christmas ornament arrived. Just over a week to get from New Zealand to Florida, not too long thankfully. A photo soon, when I hear the second ornament, to Ireland, has arrived at its' destination.

Ornaments have arrived.

So here is the ornament I stitched & sent to Lisa in Florida. The cuff is from a PS chart #119 with my own stocking embellishments.

Included with Lisa's ornament was an Australian favourite chocolate bar, a Cherry Ripe, a postcard depicting scenes of Wellington and a couple of floss cards.
My second ornament winged its' way to Mary in Ireland and it too has arrived.

From PS chart #118

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cake Baking.

Well the cake has cooled & rested & is covered with the almond paste.So far DH is co-operating and has promised not to peek at progress. Not that progress, at this stage, is anything spectacular, just the basics & I 'm no professional cake decorator. Every time I've made him a birthday cake in the past, he has been at work during the day, while I worked on the project. I would hide it carefully before he came home. This time, it is somewhat difficult as I need to snatch the times he is not at home, to work on all the preparation. He has suggested he peep at my blog, as I take the progress photos, to find out what is a foot. He may not be suspicious but does have a very inquiring mind, once he picks up a scent, of anything not following normal family happenings. More photos & words after the event.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Baking the Birthday Cake..

This week I baked a birthday cake for my DH, who celebrates his birthday next week. The fruit has been macerating in Cherry Brandy, which was substituted, as I had no ordinary brandy in the pantry.

I baked the cake in a timber cake box, a new experience for me. The wooden cake box did not self ignite as perhaps I had anticipated. In fact it filled the house with the most delicious aromas, so much so, DH was very keen to investigate the procedure. When the cake came out of the oven, he wanted to be the official taste tester. As I was being the original meanie, tasting was forbidden, until it is cut for the birthday, celebration dinner.
To tell the truth, it still needs almond icing & Royal icing decoration for next week. My plan is to keep him out of that loop, for the time being.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A small PS from some time ago.

Did you stitch up the small gift cards, that were at included in your purchase, very quickly? Perhaps, like me, you did them at a later time but often fondled them in anticipation of a completion. Since completing my three ornament exchanges I've only worked periodically on this wee PS cross stitch. I remember receiving it, when I made a purchase at the needlework store, some years ago.

I decided to make it up as a small decoration to add to my ornament tree.
This is the finished cross stitch, I've the backing fabric chosen & now need to put it together.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Ornament Arrived, I'm Thrilled!

We were away for a few days and when we returned, the first mail delivered my exchange partner's gift.
Thank you Lynn. It is a beautifully stitched piece as you can see, one of my favourites. I had planned to stitch this one for myself, over the last several years, no need now with this delightful piece. My gift also included three pieces of Halloween fabric, something it is very hard to find in this part of the world. So, you can see why I am thrilled.

My Halloween display is already set up & I now have another wee treasure to add to the mix.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

This year's Halloween Cross Stitched Ornament -To Canada.

The ornaments for the three exchanges I joined, have all been completed. The first for Halloween, was mailed two weeks ago to Canada. My stitching exchange partner tells me, as of last Friday the parcel had not arrived.
The other two ornaments, which are for Christmas, are completed, while awaiting postage. It seems a little early to send them out, before the season.

This my ornament, included was an Australian favourite chocolate bar called, a Cherry Ripe. It arrived while my exchange partner was on holidays


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Not at all Rugby fans.

We could hardly be considered Rugby fans. However late last night, when we heard the Wallabies had won their game, we no doubt felt some pride for our nation's gladiators. I heard a spokesman for the USA team, the opponents, interviewed last week, saying they held the world Olympic title over the last 90 years. You can guess I was surprised to think we had beaten their team.
DH was a tad carried away, so raised these Aussie flags in this morning strong winds.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Snow Days..

It has been extremely cold here in Wellington, so much so that there is snow all over the surrounding roads, homes, hills & mountains. Snow is usually not seen in Wellington although, I'm told it has happened before, but not to this extent. It is a delight for me, I feel like a child in a lolly shop. I'm really enjoying it as I've always wanted to live where there is snow in winter. It probably won't last very long, certainly not for the remainder of winter. It does have some downfalls as it is extremely dangerous to enter & exit our property. The way it has settled on the landscape around our suburb & suburbs we can see further afield, makes the scenery look like a picture postcard.

On the stitching side of things, I've entered three ornament exchanges, one for Halloween, and two for Christmas. The fabric for each one is sorted & I've decided what to stitch for the Halloween ornament, with a couple of selections in mind for the other two, depending on the choices from my exchange partners. More about those at a later date.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Trip to Sydney.

We've just returned from an enjoyable trip home to Sydney. The weather was perfect for winter with warm sunny days, no wind, and pleasant evening temperatures.
It was filled with catching up with loved ones and dear friends.
A trip to a wine estate, south of Berrima, the first day with friends, where we met up with more friends who had travelled to meet us half way, from their home in Canberra. The weather in the Southern Highlands was typically chilly for this time of the year, so we made ourselves very comfortable in the restaurant. After a delicious lunch, beside an open fire and five hours of laughter and chatting it was time to head back to Mosman.
The next day I met up with a very dear Aunt, Uncle & Cousin for lunch and more laughter,
chatter and catching up on family news.
I managed some serious retail therapy, especially with such abundant choices, although thoughts of excess baggage, curbed my spending somewhat. :)
We met up with friends for dinner on Saturday evening & other friends for brunch on Sunday

When we returned to Wellington it was a shock to be greeted by the very chilly, wet weather. Perhaps, the warm Autumn this year, didn't prepare me well enough for the wintery weather we're now experiencing. Thankfully, always a great time to find a warm spot to sit and stitch.

Not so much stitching although two knitted scarves for this winter.

Pansy Fob.

I've been working on a beautiful scissors fob piece, over the last few months.
I don't seem to have made a great deal of progress. The pattern was kindly lent to me by a talented, fellow stitcher, from the States. I'm endeavouring to complete the task, as there's nothing like a completion to keep one inspired. Perhaps a progress photo would be in order now.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Time to brush off the cobwebs.

I was reading other blogs this morning & thought I would perhaps, attempt to keep my blog up to date. Guess I have the wonderful work I've viewed, to thank for my renewed inspiration. It is quite uplifting to look at the array of breath taking stitching, patchwork, artwork, scenery, floral & animal photos, to mention but a few, which have renewed my interest.

My hand stitching has consisted mostly of completing the top of my hexagon quilt. I did manage to do so in the allotted time I had set myself, after abandoning it for three months from November last.. When it was together & hanging for observation & contemplation, I did alter a few of the hexagon placements, but nothing major. It has been folded and waiting since April, to be photographed. The next step is to put it together with the wadding & backing layers, then to start the hand quilting. I don't plan to do that this year, as I've a few other projects I plan to move to the completed list, first.

I've spent time dress making, something I've not done for what seems like a hundred years. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed the process. One does have something to show for one's effort, sooner, than with cross stitch or patchwork, :) I've made several tops, along with a merino cardigan & I'm currently working on completing an overcoat.

Here is my completed quilt top.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The QE2 is in tTown.

We had a delightful day down by the harbour, waiting to see the QE2. We queued for several hours in the warm summer sunshine, waiting to board the Pilot tugs, which ferried us out close to where the ship was berthed. The trip on the pilot boat was a first for us all, something we have not experienced.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Why is it when you are keeping your head down, minding your own business, the 'swill of life' want to interfere and cause havoc? One can only gather they have very little in their lives, so play the psychological game of "uproar"!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stitching so far this year.

I've been working on a few cross stitch pieces.
The first is a Lizzie Kate design called Boo Club. A whimsical Halloween banner stitched on linen, in appropriate colours for this festival.
The second is a Jim Shore design, The Twelve Days of Christmas. A joyful piece depicting scenes from the old Carol, of similar title.
Before Christmas I ordered a chart, "Song of Songs" 6:3, to stitch up for DH for Valentine's Day, guessing it would be completed and framed in time for February 14th. No such luck! As the saying goes...'Hell is paved with good intentions.' As of the latest mail, there is still no sign of the chart. I made an executive decision to re-order not only the chart, also the specified fabric & floss. The chart will not arrive in time for the occasion planned, however, maybe it can be a gift for our anniversary, later in the year.

ADDENDUM: The chart arrived three months later, and went via South America, Chile to be specific. I passed the chart onto a fellow stitcher who has shared her charts liberally, with me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Christmas Stocking.

This is a Shepherd's Bush Christmas Stocking, made as a gift for last Christmas. It's the eighth one I've stitched & this time I used a silk for the linings & backing. The silk was appropriate for the recipient & also adding to the feminine look of the chart. It was well received.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day after the birthday & Giveaways

Josh seemed to enjoy his birthday even though he thought there would be no celebrating. His two brothers were not well, so stayed home with their Dad.

We went for afternoon tea at the harbour cafe & to use the very special birthday gift.

Compared to the photos I posted yesterday from two years ago, he has certainly grown, and still remains, ever so cute. I am a tad biased. LOL.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Birthday Wishes for Joshua.

Happy Birthday Josh, darling. The big seven today, celebrating, sending much love, Mamma & Pappa.